I felt much more relaxed this time. Several things helped me. First, it wasn't my first flight.
Second, I had a talk with one of our flight test pilots whose been in some insane situations before. He was telling me about actions in an emergency situation and thinking fast, and I asked him, "Do you have all this stuff planned out?" Like, a pre-checklist in your head? How much am I supposed to plot out? He told me it just sort of all comes together. And then said, "It's like an engineering test, you know, you've taken those. You don't know what they're going to throw at you, could be anything. You just know what resources are in your head, put them together and find an answer." For some reason that really made sense to me. This'll sound crazy, but a sadistic part of me has always loved tests, and engineering tests are among the most noteworthy because they can be absolutely insane. Professors build their entire legend based on what torture they can make students go through on test day. I sort of like it. I'm competitive, and this is my chance to prove what I've got. It's fast and challenging and new. A good test is one that gets my adrenaline going.
So I'm going to think of flying like that... I mean yes the consequences of screwing up are worse than getting a C in a grad-level course, but good motivation doesn't come from fear anyway so what's the safety threat going to do for me? I'm worry about safety and all it does is freak me out. If I remember that I've got bad-ass test taking skills, I might get somewhere. The best pilots are the ones who fly the airplane, in all conditions, with anything terrible going on around them, they can focus and keep a clear head and remember their tasks.
My second flight was still not great. When he said bank 30°, that felt really steep to me and part of me I held back a little. I don't have a good sense at all of how much to adjust the throttle for the different power settings. But I feel like I can capture a heading, fly steadily towards points on the horizon, climb and descend and keep a clear head about it.